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HANSON
Former teen idols, current activists headed to campus
By: Madeline Roth
Posted: 10/1/09
If you haven't been keeping up with Hanson lately, you've been missing out.

The three brothers, Isaac, 28, Taylor, 26, and Zac, 23, kick off their Use Your Sole tour this week. St. Louis will be the second stop.

The tour is a continuation of the band's mission to bring awareness to AIDS in Africa by teaming up with Tom's Shoes to host one-mile walks in each city on the tour. The band has so far completed one lap around the world by walking over 24,000 miles, and is well on its way to completing its second lap.

Whereas the walks on Hanson's past two tours took place in areas around the concert venues where they played, many on this tour will be on college campuses.

"[Colleges] are more natural gathering places," Zac Hanson said. "College campuses are a good place for people who are trying to figure out what they are doing with their lives."

According to Zac, the band's activism began several years ago when they were inspired to travel to Africa in order, according to Zac, "to get a better understanding of what's going on with AIDS in the world."

The trip had a profound impact on the brothers.

"When we came back, we felt like what we needed to do was champion the little things, just do things that were achievable and small," Zac said.

Accompanying Hanson on the tour are Hello, Goodbye, Sherwood, and Steel Train.

"[We] added more tools for a bigger impact by bringing on different bands who want to do it with us," Zac said.

Zac said he hopes that the walks will give people a personal connection to the cause.

"The walks are all about people having an opportunity ... [It gives] them a goal and activity that they can be a part of," Zac said. "Don't wait for the government to make a mandate for civil service or have a non-profit do it for you or be passively engaged. Make sure things you're passionate about you are involved in and engaged in," he says.

The band chronicles their involvement in Africa in the book, Take the Walk, using it as a fundraising tool as well as to let people know about the importance of the tour to the band.

Hanson is currently working on their fifth studio album, due in May 2010, which Zac says will be more simplistic and gritty than their previous albums, including 2007's The Walk. He adds that the tracks will sound more live, since most were recorded in one take, and that the songs are more piano-driven.

"We were ready to make a record that we really loved making," Zac said. "In general, it's a record that says we've been a band for 17 years and we've been through a lot, but we're still here."

A new EP entitled Stand Up, Stand Up, which includes four special acoustic tracks as well as one album cut, will also be available for purchase on the tour.

Hanson will be on campus this Thursday to host a walk and to sign copies of their book. Registration for the walk, which is required and free of charge, begins at noon at the bookstore in Busch Student Center.

Hanson will perform a few songs at the end of the walk and is playing that night at the Pageant in Delmar Loop at 7:00 p.m. For more information on the tour, visit www.hanson.net or www.takethewalk.net.